Author: Hope Kesselring

War Criminals Anonymous: A Play in One Act

Hope Kesselring Characters: Ned Diamond – Former Assistant Secretary of State, in his sixties, wearing a WCA T-shirt and camouflage shorts. Michelle Cardiff – CIA officer, about 40, wearing a red skirt suit. Buster Bianchi – Lobbyist in his late fifties, wearing a dark suit and a tie festooned with cartoon characters. Larry Overton – Art supply company CEO, late forties, wearing a polo shirt and khaki pants. Blake Goodwin – Air Force officer, late thirties, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and jeans. Setting: The basement of a pizza parlor in Washington, DC. The WCA members are seated around a large table with Ned at the head of it. Scene: NED: (Bangs gavel.) I’d like to welcome everyone to the Tuesday night Atone for Drones group of War Criminals Anonymous. My name is Ned, and I’m a recovering massacrist. EVERYONE ELSE: Hi, Ned! NED: Let’s start this meeting with a moment of silence for all the war criminals out there still suffering in their addictions. (They bow their heads.) May they find their way to …

I Called the Ecuadorian Embassy and This Is What Happened

Hope K I came to WikiLeaks late. I remember reading about them, Chelsea Manning, and Julian Assange, and I thought, good on them. But it was far away, and I was busy with local issues. I had been defending the West Memphis Three for eighteen years. You see, I am from Arkansas. But it just so happens sometimes that local meets national. Local meets national and global for me in the form of the Clintons. I have spent most of my life under the reign of them. When I found out Hillary Clinton was running for president again, I was outraged. I threw my energy into the Sanders campaign. We had a good shot, I thought. Maybe the people were ready to stand up and demand normalcy and compassion. Then I watched the entire Bernie movement get eaten by Hillary. The election fraud, voter fraud, voter suppression, media collusion, and social media troll farms were outrageous. I figured if she stole the primary, Hillary would steal the election, too. Then a miracle happened — Wikileaks drops like …

I Propose Americans Wear Gas Pumps on Veteran’s Day

In the Commonwealth of Nations, the people get to wear poppies on Remembrance Day. I’m jealous. Poppies are beautiful.

In the United States, we get military glorification and propaganda. I don’t know how many marches and war stories we’ve endured over the years. This is not fair.

I think Americans need their own symbolic lapel pin for Veteran’s Day. I propose it be a gas pump.

The People vs Artificial Intelligence

In the fertile Arkansas Delta lies a small town called Cash. Its name is an Anglicized version of a nearby river, Cache, which in French means “hidden.” A cache is also a computer term.

It’s therefore ironic yet appropriate that one of Cash’s aldermen, Bradley Ledgerwood, helped discover a hidden artificial intelligence (AI) program that has devastated people living with physical disabilities in the state of Arkansas.

You might be asking, why does this matter to me?

Book Review: High Magick By Damien Echols

Hope K If I were to pick one word to sum up Damien Echols’ new book, High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row, I would choose “empowerment.” And if you’re doubtful that magick is real, well, just know that Damien Echols is the only person to ever have walked away from death row in Arkansas. The West Memphis Three In May of 1993, three eight year old boys were brutally murdered, their bodies found in a gulley, their bicycles left on a pipe bridge in the woods of West Memphis, Arkansas. Here’s the crime scene 25 years later: The town was traumatized by the gruesome nature of the murders. The police either could not or would not name a suspect, and they were getting a lot of pressure. So they honed in on Damien, who with his black clothes, heavy metal music, and interest in magick, stood out. He and his best friend, Jason Baldwin, lived in poverty. So too did Jessie Misskelley, who confessed to the crime. Damien …

Does Elizabeth Warren Know What ᏣᎳᎩ Means?

Hope K Senator Elizabeth Warren got tired of being called “Pocahontas” for claiming to be Cherokee and took a DNA test. I’d like to give her a test. What does “ᏣᎳᎩ” mean? Last summer my mother and aunt asked me if I felt like a Cherokee. It’s a valid question. I haven’t lived in the Cherokee Nation since I was a toddler. My father is of European descent, so my skin is white. I thought about it for a moment and said, “Yes, I do.” In order to officially be a member of the tribe, you must have one of these cards: But being Cherokee is more than just having the bloodline to me. It’s memories of spending summers at my grandmother’s house surrounded by baskets, pots, and turquoise. It’s having a mother who talks about the Little People and space travel as well as the Bible. It was that time I stayed on the bus during a school field trip to the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s home, in a silent protest my classmates didn’t notice. …

The Milagro of Oscar Romero’s Sainthood

Lately when you read the news about the Catholic Church, it’s really bad. But on October 15, the Pope canonized a truly remarkable person, Oscar Romero. This is a saint whose life you should study, even if you aren’t Catholic.

The Cap, Kanye, and the Constitution

Hope K Rumor has it that Columbia College in Chicago was the last school Kanye West briefly attended before he released his debut album The College Dropout. Though I didn’t drop out, I went there, too. A lot of interesting people did, including rapper Common and comedian Jimmy Dore. Columbia was the art school for outsiders. You could attend a lecture by Joyce Carol Oates while the hip-hop majors danced outside the window. You could study just about any kind of art you could dream up. It was kind of like the posh Art Institute’s scrappy cousin, but it encouraged free thinking. Kanye has an honorary PhD from the Art Institute now, but he’s still got that old spark, if you ask me. I can’t imagine anyone from the Art Institute ever wearing a MAGA hat. But for Kanye, that cap is his Superman cape. He thinks of it as his way of bucking the system. “They tried to scare me to not wear this hat — my own friends,” he said. Though you might not agree …

CIA Hits of Yesterday and Today: Nicaragua Collection

When I was knee high to a grasshopper and listening to 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother) by the Eurythmics on my jambox, CIA agents were dropping tons of drugs on my state and training death squads in our forests. I had heard of Contras and Daniel Ortega, but I had no idea they had any impact on my life at all.

However, a couple of years later at one of my first babysitting gigs, I was getting a little girl ready for bed when I found a big plastic zipper bag full of white powder in her underwear drawer. “You’re not supposed to touch that,” she told me. I guess her parents thought that was a safe place to hide it. It had probably come from an airport in small town called Mena, but we’ll get to that later.